I love you to Burundi and back.

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HELLLOOOOO!!!!

FIRST! Let me start by apologizing for the two month delay in updating you all.

So many of our precious friends rushed to our aid so that we could meet our May deadline of $11,500. Because of the hidden costs associated with adoption, we found ourselves about $2,500 short just weeks before our deadline… And yall, I am just blown away! We had long lost acquaintances sending in GENEROUS checks, we had strangers stepping up and offering to host fundraisers, we had people who had given before jump in and give again… just so many God-sized stories of sacrifice and provision. The Lord’s faithfulness to this journey was testimony to our hearts, and the layers of gratitude will never be fittingly articulated.

So the big question is… did we make our goal!? YES!!! And then some! We came out with about $120.00 more than needed (which is actually a good thing because money needs to STAY in our adoption fund to keep it open), and we still have another $50 or so that should be coming in! I cannot tell you how many tears of joy have been shed these past few weeks… so many late nights, soooo much work, but how humbling to watch members of the body come together for a God-ordained cause. I love seeing how adoption interests many, but how that burden unfolds in different forms. Thank you to everyone who has fallen into our storyline- we may be benefactors at the end, but it was YOU who got this whole thing off the ground.

Where are we now? OK, so that $11,500 fee was for our dossier submission. Wait… what is that again? So the home study is what checks us out for the United States side of things… a dossier is what gets us in order for the international side. That is it in the most SIMPLE of explanations. Our dossier was due by June 2nd, which meant it needed to be in the mail by the end of May with our HUGE fee attached. I had a few forms sent back that needed to be adjusted, but those have already gone through the Secretary of State and resubmitted to AGCI (our placement agency). Now our entire encyclopedia sized file is being MAILED TO THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY OF BURUNDI THIS WEEK!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

It’s going to take about 2 weeks for it to be translated into their official languages of French / Kirundi, and then it’s just the waiting game. We anticipate that it will be about 12-18 months (potentially 2 years– but hopefully not!) before we receive our referral (which is a fancy way of saying our match). Why so long? Well there are many factors to this:

1. ) Burundi is one of the top 3 poorest countries in the world. Tragically this means that most children become orphaned due to abandonment because of their consequential financial burden. By law, if a child is orphaned this way (as opposed to death or government intervention), they have to remain in institutional care for one year before they become eligible for adoption. This gives all living relatives a chance to make claim on the child. Which leads to my next point…

2. ) Owen. My youngest biological child will be 14 months in the next few days. Per requirements of my placement agency, Owen must be at least 10 months OLDER than the incoming children. There are many, manyyyy beneficial reasons as to why this rule is a fantastic one, but most of them pertain attachment development post-placement. We whole-heartedly embrace this.

1 + 2 = 3

3. ) Since most likely our kids will be abandoned (and therefore have to remain in institutional care for year)… and Owen has to be 10 months older, at the SOONEST, a match would occur in March 2018. Buuuut we have to make sure we highlight our next point.

4. ) Burundi is EXTREMELY poor. They are so deprived you hardly even see litter in their streets. Get it? THAT POOR. Nothing is wasted. Currently there is a petrol shortage and, therefore, those who have the luxury of taking the bus or cabs can’t do so. There is also modest infrastructure due to both war and poverty… so in order to access files on a computer, you must have electricity to view them… and wait, what about getting there when there is no fuel to take a bus to that computer? And hold on… who views these files? There are very few educated upon international adoption to even do such a thing… so for a group of like-minded people- to be ABLE to gather in the same place- and actually use the facilities to their full working capacity…. sadly, isn’t often. In fact, at this point in time, it only happens 4 times a year. This past meeting was supposed to happen in March and it didn’t occur until late June. See what I’m saying?

So this means, if in March 2018 we become fully qualified to take home a sibling group that was abandoned, and then it may be 1-4 sessions before we get matched, this is how that time line extends farther and farther down the line. Now… could a referral happen sooner? Absolutely! There could be an instance where our kids become orphaned for reasons outside of abandonment. In this case, our timeline would be much shorter. However, this is not the norm. So this is why we wait.

What will we be doing while we wait? As many of you know, I have been applying for grants like a crazy woman. Some we don’t qualify for, some won’t consider us until we have our referral, and then there are a few who may (or may not) be still considering us. It’s truly a silent waiting game. We have NO IDEA where we are there. There is no promise, just hope for favor. With that said, it would be unwise for us to fully depend on the grants to carry us to our next anticipated costs. While it is true, these costs won’t be due until our referral (which, as stated above, won’t occur for AWHILE), once these costs come they will be hefty. We are talking THOUSANDS of dollars…. which I’ll break down for another blog post. 🙂 So my plan is to do 2-3 fundraisers each season to meet these financial goals.

Do I know what the next fundraisers are? I SURE DO! I’m having a smaller, private one in September and my goal is to raise $500… which honestly, I think is swinging for the stars… but here’s to hoping?! If this goes well, I may repeat it again in the spring and open it up for more people! THE OTHER FUNDRAISER THOUGH… I can’t wait to explain it.

We were approved for a matching grant through Lifesong for Orphans, “Both Hands Project.” Their concept follows the saying ‘It takes a village to -bring home- a child.” This is how it works:

  1. We will gather at least ten local friends, coworkers or family members (etc) and form our TEAM.

  2. We find a widow. The loss of a beloved spouse often makes it difficult for a widow to keep up with the necessary improvements and repairs on her home. Widows are often overlooked in our communities and need help, but aren’t sure how to find it. Both Hands will guide our team in finding a widow in our community to serve.

  3. We serve for a day! On the project day, our family will serve a widow alongside our team of volunteers. These tasks will be labor-focused rather than material-focused. Labor-focused tasks often include painting, cleaning, landscaping and de-cluttering. These examples allow the team to make an impact while limiting the project’s supply costs.

  4. We raise funds for our adoption! Our team members will raise sponsorship for their project day through sending fundraising letters and also sharing their fundraising webpage. For 2014, families’ projects raised an average of $12,500. Both Hands is committed to fundraising support for its operating costs through private donors, NO funds raised by a family and their team are deducted for Both Hands’ operating.

WILL YOU PRAY ABOUT BEING A PART OF OUR TEAM!?!?!

 

I haven’t nailed down the date yet because I would like to find a time when all interested volunteers can participate. Honestly, I would prefer for it to happen somewhere between early September and Thanksgiving. My thoughts were that if we are doing manual labor, the cooler temps would probably be more helpful. Anyway… I’ll write another post about that one sometime next month! I’ve given you a book to process already. So as you walk away, will you praise the Lord with us for yet another display of His sovereign faithfulness? And while you are still in that place of prayer, go before us as we embark upon this new season of waiting and gathering. It is certainly bringing upon it’s own set of challenges.  

We love you, and look forward to connecting again soon.

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